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Allen, Ethan (1738–1789), revolutionary army officer and politician in America, was born on 10 January 1738 in Litchfield, Connecticut, the eldest of the seven children of Joseph Allen (1708–1755) and Mary Baker (1708–1774), farmers. The Allen family lived in what was then a frontier region of ...

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Annet, Peter (1693–1769), religious controversialist, was born in Liverpool but nothing further is known about his background and early life. He worked for a time as a schoolmaster and developed a widely used system of shorthand that received some recognition. Joseph Priestley learned it at school and corresponded with ...

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Joseph Barker (1806–1875) by John Cochran, pubd 1880 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barker, Joseph (1806–1875), Methodist minister and politico-religious controversialist, was born on 11 May 1806 at Bramley, near Leeds. His ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled in this area for several generations as farmers and manufacturers. The identity of his parents has not been discovered, though it is known that his father was employed in woollen manufacture and served for some time in the militia, and that ...

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Barlow, Joel (1754–1812), poet and diplomatist, was born on 24 March 1754 at Redding, Connecticut, the fourth child of Samuel Barlow, farmer, and his second wife, Esther Hull. For several generations the Barlow family maintained a reputation as respectable farmers in America, and ...

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Blackner, John (1770?–1816), radical and county historian, was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. He served an apprenticeship to a stocking maker in his native town, and there married Sarah, née Brown, sister of a 'respectable' farmer in Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire, with whom he had four sons and three daughters. Illiterate at the time of his marriage, he taught himself to read and write soon after moving to ...

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Brocklesby, Richard (1722–1797), physician, was the only son of Richard Brocklesby (d. c.1763), of Cork, and his wife, Mary Alloway, of Minehead, Somerset, in which town Brocklesby was born on 11 August 1722. He received his early education in his father's house and, as both parents were Quakers, he was sent at the age of twelve to a Quaker school at ...

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Buckle, Henry Thomas (1821–1862), historian, was born on 24 November 1821 at Lee in Kent, the son of Thomas Henry Buckle (1779–1840), partner in a London shipping firm, and his wife, Jane Middleton (d. 1859) of Yorkshire. He had two sisters. Originally from ...

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Henry Thomas Buckle (1821–1862) by Mayall & Co., 1850s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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[Anon.]

revised by Alexander Du Toit

Burnett, John (1729–1784), philanthropist, was born in Aberdeen, the son of a city merchant; after education in Aberdeen, Burnett himself began a career in trade in 1750, shortly after the failure of his father's business due to a fall in prices—a result of ...